January 31, 2018:


Today is the Super Duper Blue Red Full Eclipse Partial Eclipse Moon, depending on where you may be viewing from.

Three years ago this day was my last day of working and I retired after 46 years of full-time work. I've enjoyed every single moment of my retirement since then - three years and hoping for twenty more, we'll see how things go...

February and March can be cruel months in southeastern Wisconsin where I live. January itself was nutso here weather-wise, with two separate thaws. I don't ever remember getting two January thaws before, and many years none happened at all.

Before I know it I'll be headed to Las Vegas to visit my friends and celebrate some sunshine and warm weather, and see a show (I always try to squeeze one in). Meanwhile, I am continuing, slowly, to make this smaller retirement ranch into a home that makes me smile in every room. I still have lots to do, including major painting projects. I keep putting them off. Seems at 66 I'm not so keen on painting as I was at 36. Gee, I wonder why...


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Birds of a Feather...

...flock together.  How true, how true.  I believe that is why the Ladies of the Bus a/k/a Rockin' Crazy Cougars, have bonded.  It's amazing how quickly you can find friends and cohorts on the bus ride to and from work.

Tonight is Thelma's house-warming.  Thelma is far too young to be a cougar -- she's only 32.  In June of this year she moved into her very first apartment away from home, away from the sheltered life she has always known.  It took awhile for her to get her place together, and thus the long delay in the house-warming, but tonight's the night.

So, for Thelma (not her real name -- most of us have nicknames.  I'm Jannibal {chomp chomp}, for instance) I wanted to get a house-warming gift that would be meaningful and useful as well, and beautiful too!  The problem was, I didn't have much time to shop, and I wasn't sure what the heck I would get.  At first, I was thinking "spa" -- but since I did not know her color scheme or what she had -- she's been very close-mouthed about it all, drat!  So I thought "I'll get her a gift basket in a nice neutral color of bubble bath, lotions and potions, etc."  And of course I couldn't find one that rang my chimes.  Double drat! 

So, this morning I headed to TJ Maxx on a mixed-bag weather day; one minutes it was cloudy, gloomy, damp and cold; the next moment it was sunny, breezy and I was far too warm in my winter jacket!  Sweated on the walk back home, whew!  And I had -- SUCCESS!  My eye was caught by several different things, including one of those cases that look like an antique book, some glass and chrome soap dispensers (after I had told myself I wasn't going to consider any such accessories, these were soooo pretty and the price was soooo right, I was very tempted), even some Christmas ornaments. I considered some of those mercury-glass tall votive holders, and some neutral-colored picture frames and then -- I saw it!  On an upper shelf -- a candle holder. 

Only, I didn't realize until I got it home and read the little tag on it that it's actually a jewelry holder!  I couldn't read the tag at TJ Maxx because I didn't have my tote with me and therefore, no reading glasses.  I'm blind as a bat when it comes to reading without my Walgreen's cheaters!  (When I go shopping I only carry my empty canvas totes and cash and cards are stuffed into pockets.) It's branches have little birds on them and the thing I thought was supposed to hold the candle (a nice size candle) in the shape of a bird's nest is probably supposed to hold watches and such!  LOL!  Of course I didn't think to take a picture of this find before I wraped it up, and I'm not going to unwrap it now!  So I thought, I'll just find a pic of it on the internet.

Could not, for the life of me, find an image of the birds on branches jewelry holder I actually purchased.  Geez, I had no idea!  There are a kajillion of them out there, and they're all different!  So, here are a couple of pics that are sorta kinda look like the one I scored at TJ Maxx:

This one (above) is supposedly an Anthropologie bird nest and branch jewelry holder, offered at ebay.  I've no idea.  I don't shop at Anthropologie.  It's in a silver color and available for $49.95 PLUS another $12.95 for shipping.  ARE THEY NUTS?  The reason I picked this image is because the nest, with it's woven textured look, is very like the "nest" on the jewelry holder I found.

The photo below is from Kirkland's, but it looks like it was taken originally in 2009:

Sorry, I didn't save a url where I snatched the image from.  This form has actually birds on it!

My TJ Maxx find is a creamy color, metal, with some gold brushed on it here and there.  There is one nest, down low on its own branch coming out of the side of the larger branch, which I took to be the candle holder; the five-inch tall scented pillar candle I bought at TJ Maxx fits perfectly in it!  There are three birds scattered about the branches and many of the branches have small holes pierced through them, I assume so that pierced earrings can be hung from them.  Funny, when I first saw what I thought was a candle holder, I thought to myself that those branches would look so pretty festooned with some dangling crystals!  It has "feet"/base similar to the Kirkland's model but the branching is more reminescent of the Anthropologie model. 

Best of all was the price, which I won't reveal just in case Thelma ever visits here.  It was a lot less than $49.95 plus $12.95 for shipping!  It was also less than the on-sale price of $14.95 that I remember from the Kirkland's image.  Note:  I just checked Kirkland's online site and could not find the birds on branches jewelry holder, so they no longer sell it online.

This was the ONLY candle holder (jewelry holder) of this type in the entire TJ Maxx store.  DRAT!  I really like it and wanted it for myself.  The sacrifices that friends make for friends...this would look fabulous in my bedroom...

I hope/think Thelma will like it because she loves birds and nature like I do; it's in a great neutral color, it's practical and useful and beautiful (can definitely be used both as a candle holder and a jewelry holder).  It's small enough to fit into a bathroom or on a dresser in a bedroom.  In addition, Thelma owns Bob the Bird (a parakeet), so I think she'll get a kick out of my choice. I also got Bob the Bird a gift -- not sure what they're called, those seed-covered thingies that go inside and hang on the side of the bird cage.  Well, it's Bob's home, too. 

I also bought a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream so we can all have a suitable toast this evening. Thelma is not experienced at throwing parties -- she only purchased one bottle of wine.  Now, that might work if I was the only guest coming because I can down a bottle of wine in nothing flat, unless it's a gallon, in which case it would take me a couple of hours.  Thelma is starting out a little later on the road to independence than I did; I got my first apartment at 17.  But she'll learn, just like we all did.  Fortunately, Thelma has the Ladies of the Bus to guide her :)


  1. Hi Jan. Cute and well written blog entry!!

    1. Thelma! Hey girlfriend, I know you've heard from everyone by now (except me) that it was a good party, but then, we ARE an exceptional group of lady friends :) That taco dip was soooooo good, afraid I stuffed myself on it but it seemed like the amount on the platter never got smaller and smaller no matter how many times I went back. Magic Taco Dip maybe. I got such a kick out of Bob. I would stand by his cage and call his name and he'd look and look, probably trying to figure out who is the strange Tree Creature with the unfamiliar voice. I really think he loved the constant twitter twitter of all of our talking and laughing together, like he was with his very own flock, so to speak; that's what I told Anni on the ride home from work tonight. (It was just Cowboy, Anni and me tonight). I imagine being in a flock of parakeets would be rather noisy, but good company :) Hope none of your neighbors complained that we were making too much noise!!! Tonight our bus driver teased me about blowing past the bus stop to make a light and leaving me on Water and Wisconsin, and wondered if I would have turned him in. I said you bet your BEEP I would, dude, and he laughed and laughed.